Opening the Mind-Bending Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

By  · Published on November 29th, 2017

Director Robert Wiene explores inner and outer self in one of the first horror films.

When we think of psychological horror, we may be thrust into the debate between “true horror” and “psychological thriller”. That distinction is rather arbitrary and dismantles a genre built upon the psychology of self. One of the first horror films, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, is completely about the murderous depths of the human mind.

It’s also got a thousand other themes jammed into its disturbed dual pro/antagonist, some that blur the lines between realism and the fantastic quality of the film’s set and costuming.

Ben Muntananuchat’s video essay is often as disturbing as the film itself, with its droning music and Muntananuchat’s unrelenting narrative pace. He does an excellent job deconstructing the film’s layers, explaining all the implications and insinuations of the film’s structure, characters, and setting.


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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).